Russia Tests “Total Surveillance” at the Sochi Olympics
By Owen Matthews / February 12, 2014
The 2014 Sochi Olympics have become a giant testing ground for some of the most intensive, extensive and intrusive electronic surveillance operations ever mounted. There’s even evidence that criminal hackers are working alongside Russian spies to mine information.
“Sochi is a trial run,” says Keir Giles, a cyber security expert at the Royal Institute of Strategic Studies in London. A special section of the Russian security force FSB – the successor to the KGB – has spent years perfecting a total monitoring system around Sochi which automatically tracks mobile calls, email, social networks and all the links between them, adding in data from passenger lists, drones and roadside cameras.
It’s enormously sophisticated and of course expensive – but also, most notably perhaps, the first rollout of a new generation of absolute surveillance. If it works in Sochi, the FSB is expected to deploy its new toy across Russia – and other totalitarian, and supposedly not so totalitarian, countries might also be interested.
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